I have been talking to many different folks who got funding to attend different events and I'm surprised that so many people do not know this simple principle: the full cup v. the empty cup.
Imagine this situation:
You are a member of the judging committee that will give fellowships for attending a certain conference. And you have received dozens of emails requesting funding.
After some filtering based on skills, geographical location and other objective profiles, you have to make a choice between the following two messages:
An Empty-Cup Request would go like this:
My name is Mr. Empty-Cup and I would like to request a fellowship to attend your event. I come from a developing country and cannot afford to attend the conference without financial support.
There is generally a little bit of extra fluff but the overall message is "my cup is empty, please fill it".
The second request would be a Full-Cup Proposal:
My name is Mr. Full-Cup and I'm the focal point of the Initiative for Online Security in ExampleLand. This year our group provided cybersecurity training for nine local communities across ExampleLand. You can find a detailed report attached.
To follow up, we would like to participate in your conference, particularly to showcase our work, connect with speakers Mr. Brown and Mr. White who are listed in the programme for a project we intend to launch next year. Currently there is an online platform for discussion, www.example.com
If support is given, we will also be enthused to enhance awareness about your organization among our local community by writing blog posts with reports about the conference and creating a study group with monthly meetings on this subject.
Got the point?
Of course, you have to keep your promises. If you say you will do such and such reporting, debates and lots of fireworks, stick to your word and OVERDELIVER.
Change the mindset: instead of asking for a fellowship, think how YOU can help people out. Always give more than you promised. Surprise people. Be excellent.
Needless to say, communities who gather around one theme (Internet governance for instance) are very small so everybody knows everybody. If you are an empty-cup value taker pretending to be a full cup
... everyone will know about it sooner than you imagine.
So, how do YOU show up with a full cup?
p.s. this post, as well as everything I write, is my personal opinion and does not reflect the official position of any group I'm affiliated with. I also share a lot of flawed ideas hoping that by bringing them to the conversation more voices can jump in and help me in this maturity ;-)